“So many of the world’s current issues – at a global scale and locally – boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them. Global warming as it affects countries and regions, food and energy security, the degradation of land and soils from over-use and misuse, the spread of disease, the causes and consequences of migration, and the impacts of economic change on places and communities.” Michael Palin
Why study geography?
Geography is a collection of sciences that now more than ever, help students appreciate they are important, they are connected, and they are part of this world. Today everything is global. Now more than ever geographers are in demand. People are understanding more and more that our thoughts and actions are connected to a global community. The local has become global and the global has been welcomed into our homes and communities. Our countries, people, environment, economies, political systems, natural and human resources, social spaces and marketplaces have never been so interconnected and never so interdependent. And who better to understand these planet-wide realities than a geographer. Teachers in Castleknock use a wide range of resources to help students appreciate the breath and beauty of the subject including IT, field trips and field studies.
Junior Cycle Geography
Students will study a range of physical sciences including seismology, climatology, geology, hydrology, oceanography, geomorphology and meteorology to name just a few. These hard sciences are accompanied by a wide range of social sciences that aim to help students gain a better understanding of the environment in which they live and gain a deeper appreciation of how lucky we are by comparison in the developed world. Students also get the opportunity to choose two aspects of Geography they find intriguing as part of two classroom based assessments; Geography in the News and My Geography. Students are encouraged to explore aspects of the natural world they find interesting to them personally. They can then present this project to their peers in whatever imaginative way they choose. There is one CBA in second year and it is followed by a second CBA in third year. They will write an assessment report on this CBA that will be graded and form ten percent of their final grade.
Senior Cycle Geography
The learning, use, and application of geographical skills is central to a student’s experience of Leaving Certificate geography. Geographical skills are central to all parts of the syllabus. Students who choose geography for the Leaving Certificate get to study one of the widest choices of topics of any subject. The course is designed to allow students to choose subject matter that they find interesting. Every student gets to explore Physical and Regional Geography as the core components of the course. In these sections, students will gain a more detailed understanding of patterns and processes touched on in Junior Cycle Geography. They will then elect to study one topic from economic or social geography. Students who choose Honours level then opt to study an optional topic. Students can choose one from Global interference, Geoecology, Culture and Identity, the Atmosphere – Ocean Environment. The last component is the Field Study worth 20% of the final grade. Students get to choose a title from a wide range of disciplines and conduct a scientific study on their chosen topic. They will complete a report that will be submitted in April of their exam year. Students nationwide typically perform very highly with a national average of 92% most years.
TY is a time for students to be exposed to aspects of geography that are not on the Leaving Certificate course. Teachers can choose from a wide range of courses depending on what is topical at the time. Courses have included Geography of Popular music, climate change, geopolitics, cartography, ecology, medical geography and many more.
Students from first and second year get to visit sites in Wicklow and Meath and study aspects of Hydrology and Glaciology. Leaving Certificate students have done field studies in the Wicklow mountains, urban studies in Castleknock and next year will be looking at a coastal study in Howth. These provide an excellent opportunity for students to conduct research and draw up a report of their findings.